The Veil

The significance of the veil in Orthodox churches I recently had a protestant Christian ask why we Orthodox still separated the faithful by closing and opening the veil that separates the Altar from the people. When I explained that we follow, as did the Ancient Church, the tradition of  showing great reverence to the Holy of Holies, by setting it…

Silence

Entering into the Silence All Orthodox Christians are aware of the importance of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, in our journey to God. These three practices are at the heart of the four major fast periods of the Church. Prayer is our way of communicating with God on a daily basis, and fasting days (Wednesday and Friday) are called for throughout…

Schismatics

We must refrain from the life of the “super correct” Driven by fear, there are people who leave the Church and head into schism. In Greece there are at least eighteen “Old Calendar” Orthodox churches who claim to be THE Church, not recognizing each other as canonical. In the United States there are nearly the same numbers, some Slavic and…

Ascetic Struggle

Holiness is acquired through struggle Christianity is a religion of asceticism, instructing us to store up our treasures in heaven, where the benefits have eternal value. Throughout the New Testament we read of the importance of struggle, where focus on the acquisition of a humble and contrite heart is paramount to what it means to be a Christian. The Lord…

Bullying

Children must be taught kindness at an early age More and more frequently we read about children taking their own lives, having reached a place where they would rather be dead, than live another hour suffering from bullying. Too often parents and teachers have ignored the problem of bullying, dismissing it as nothing more than “kids will be kids”, and…

The Holy of Holies

The Link Between the Old and New Testament Temples Orthodox temples have kept to the same form and function since ancient times. Using the Old Testament Temple model, Orthodox churches are divided into several courts or spaces peculiar to their function. The Holy Table, upon which is celebrated the Eucharist, is situated at the east end of the building behind…

Don’t React, Be at Peace  

Receive all temptations with a peaceful heart Each day brings on new challenges regarding the  health of your soul. Those moments when a family member or coworker makes a remark that are meant to anger you, are those times you need to guard your heart. When those around you are gossiping about someone, that is an opportunity for you to…

Love Everyone?

How can we possibly love everyone? “I am the light of the world, whoever believes in me shall not walk in darkness but shall walk in the light of life.” We all know this vivid image of Christ, given to us by Our Lord Himself, tells us that it is He who is the source of light, and whose love…

Angels Unawares

I’ve been asked to repost this story from the past While sitting in Murchie’s Tea and Coffee sidewalk cafe in Victoria, B.C., with my friend Archpriest Basil Rhodes, having a cup of coffee and a lemon scone, a homeless man stop behind me. The man was staring at our food, so Father Basil asked him if he was hungry. He answered…

A Compassionate People

We must become a more compassionate people “In this way will the inequalities of earthly states be leveled out at God’s judgment (Saint Theophan the Recluse).” It is right that we consider the teachings of the Orthodox Church concerning our duties to those who have less than we. Saint John Chrysostom taught that, “the poor are not the spectacle of…

Simple Living

Living a simple life contributes toward inner healing Our monastery has a large organic vegetable garden, believing as Orthodox monks that we should give witness to sustainable living. Raising free range chickens, and eating only organic eggs, fits in with our overall goal of living as good stewards of the earth. We are hoping to come up with the needed…

The Poor

Our Christian response to the poor amongst us Americans are witnessing the widest gap between the highest and the lowest income families since officials began tracking the data more than a decade ago. It is thus prudent for us to examine the words of some of the greatest of the Early Church Fathers, spoken with the Mind of the Church,…